4 Simple Ways To Reduce Workplace Inequality
03/08/2018 - Impact Hub

Like many companies around the world, we at Impact Hub are working hard to reduce inequalities at the workplace.

From running events and programs that nurture inclusive, safe spaces for innovation, to empowering our worldwide community through our inclusive ownership model where every single Impact Hub functions as an independent entity we pride ourselves on our work to reduce inequalities within and between each one of our communities.

But, we understand that it isn’t easy knowing where to begin.

For example you might own, collaborate with, or work for a company that’s only now waking up to the inequalities inherent in the workplace. You are not alone! Many work cultures around the world have inherited (and continue to inherit) subtle practices that contribute to these inequalities, whether it’s contributing to the gender pay gap, racial underrepresentation or anything else.

The important thing is that you’re paying attention to it, and willing to take action.

And we’re here to help! So without further adieu, here are 4 innovative ways that you can help reduce inequalities in the workplace…

  1. Pay your employees with company stock

If you don’t have enough money in the bank to pay all of your staff members what you know they deserve, consider employee stock ownership plans (EOPs).

This broad-based ownership model is best exemplified by Recology; a waste collection and recycling company based in San Francisco that brings in $800 million in revenue 100% of which is owned by its 3,000 employees. No giant pay gaps to be found here!

  1. Don’t just train your employees about gender bias

As more and more companies are realizing these days, gender inequality at work is a very real issue. In both the the US and the UK labor markets for example, men are consistently more employed than women.

In our own network team and community, we love that we have so many powerful women in leadership positions. Between 5 female managers (including our Executive Director) compared to 3 males, and a 65% female team, gender diversity is something that we’re especially passionate about. And on top of all that, 45% of our members and 65% of our makers (staff and volunteers) identify as female.

So what’s the best way to diversify your team? Most boards and company owners tackle this by implementing gender bias training, but Stanford sociologist Shelley Correll argues that this isn’t the way to make permanent change.

If you’re thinking of (or already) running gender bias training in your workplace, consider establishing a formalized method of hiring and evaluating your employees. Correll’s  research argues that once you combine these two approaches in the workplace, you are far more likely to implement tangible, lasting impact on gender bias.

  1. Provide a safe space for underrepresented people

These days, simply saying that you welcome people from every community into your workplace isn’t always enough to foster real inclusivity. Actions always speak louder than words, and if you’re thinking about ways to open up your company to a more diverse community, then organizing an event is a surefire way to show that you’re serious about it.

Your event can take any form at all. You can teach a workshop, host a talk, facilitate a discussion panel or organize a networking event. Just make sure that you give people of minority communities a platform on which to be heard.

Take for example, some of the awesome events that our Impact Hubs are running:

– At Impact Hub Oakland, The Women’s Creative Entrepreneurship & Equity Institute (WCEEI) places women of color at the center of design and leadership by cultivating the voices of cis/trans women aiming to achieve greater racial and economic equity. We think that’s some pretty inspirational stuff.

The Digital Imagination Challenge at Impact Hub Berlin helped open the doors of the tech industry to people with disabilities. This innovation contest was specifically aimed at this group to diversify the industry and offer equal opportunities. It doesn’t get more transparent than that.

Impact Hub Floripa has set up a Social Impact Fund for Diversity to support at least 5 local projects that tackle gender diversity in 2018. The community there also decorated their space with ‘Safe Space’ stickers to support people of all sexual orientations and identities while they focus on making a difference.

– Among many others, innovators at Impact Hub Seattle took part in the Communities For Change program, and set out to achieve inclusive entrepreneurship in their city. Through field trips, workshops and discussions, they learned about the value of difference, how to understand it before championing it, and – most importantly – why it matters.

Impact Hub Phnom Penh organized a networking night themed around inclusive business. To help diversify their community and open up equal opportunities, makers discussed inspiring businesses who are providing much needed training and employment opportunities to the underemployed.

Members at Impact Hub Vienna were recently treated to a fascinating talk on ‘radical inclusion’ over a glass of wine at one of their weekly community events. By inviting the team from The Future Society to share their insights on inequalities, everyone had the opportunity to imagine what a wildly inclusive world could mean for the workplace as we know it.

  1. Partner with initiatives who are already reducing inequalities

Quite often the older the company, the more antiquated its structure is. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a brand new startup to be agile. Plenty of large-scale, established businesses have implemented real change in their communities by partnering up with some pretty unlikely allies.

Earlier this year for instance, Allianz joined forces with Impact Hub to nurture bottom-up innovation in the Investment Ready program ‘Encouraging Future Generations’, designed to foster social inclusion in Brazil, Germany, Malaysia and Turkey.

Together, Allianz and Impact Hub awarded the prize to The Picha Project; a social enterprise that empowers marginalized communities in Malaysia through a sustainable food catering and delivery business. So in the end, Allianz not only fostered social inclusion, but bottom-up enterprise as well, helping to reduce economic inequality at the very same time. Not bad for a centuries-old business.

And last but not least

If you’re interested in partnering up with Impact Hub to help reduce the inequalities in your workplace, take a look at our partnerships page or head straight on over to our programs page to check out what we’ve got going on right now.

You can also check out this brilliant strategy that shows you how to diversify your work culture, published by our very own Impact Hub Zurich.

And to finish it off, we pass the mic over to the brilliant and inspiring Ashara Ekundayo speaking at Impact Hub Oakland about the topic that she knows best…